A gurukula or gurukulam is One of the famous educational systems practised in ancient India during the Vedic times was the Gurukul System. It was a residential schooling system which dates back to around 5000 BC where students were taught various subjects and were taught to live a cultured and disciplined life.
Gurukul was the home of a teacher or Acharya and was the centre of learning where pupils resided till their education was complete. The Guru (teacher) and the shisya (student) resided in the same house or lived close to each other. The main focus of a Gurukul was on imparting learning to the students in a natural surrounding. The system functioned on the well-rounded holistic development of a child, enshrining values such as discipline, self-reliance, right attitude, empathy, creativity, and strong moral beliefs.
Learning was customized to each student’s needs rather than as a common curriculum. The teachers played a major role to structure the learning on the basis of their assessments about the students. The students in the Gurukul were oblivious of outer distractions, living in close proximity of a teacher, where greater emphasis was laid on students’ mental, cognitive, spiritual and physical wellness.
The relationship between guru and shishya was so sacred that no fee was taken from the students. However, the student had to offer a ‘guru dakshina’ after completing his education, which was a token of respect paid to the teacher. It could be in the form of money or a special task that the student had to perform for the teacher.
The fundamental concept of the Veda is to serve the food to the Divine Preacher, who is the incarnation of God (Agnou karana), to the devoted human beings (Brahmana Bhojana) and finally, to other livings beings like birds and animals (Pinda pradana). The food is prepared by God from the five inert elements for the sake of living beings. If you throw such food into inert elements like fire, earth etc., you are insulting God. Pouring milk into pores of the earth is also foolish. In such case, all the effort of God to synthesize food from the inert materials becomes waste.